Vitamin D

vitamin dThis activity is designed to engage a wider range of students. Using the principles of ‘science capital’, it makes the issue of Vitamin D deficiency highly accessible and relevant to students’ everyday experience. Rickets and other bone diseases in young people have risen 400%,  Some scientists are recommending teenagers take vitamin D supplements, particularly in autumn and winter. The activity teaches students how to analyse patterns in data, so they can calculate their vitamin D intake from food and the sun and come to an informed decision.


This is a ‘sequence’ of activities designed to be fitted into one lesson. It teaches a ‘Working Scientifically’ skill – analysing patterns – through a quiz game, and then applies it to the context of nutrition. The activity also helps students apply their science knowledge.  To download it, you need to be an Advanced User. Upgrading your registration is free and fast. Answer the questions and upgrade here. 

Science objective

Digestion: describe health effects of vitamin D deficiency. (KS3 Science Syllabus)

Designed for the KS3 Science SyllabusEnquiry objective

Analyse patterns: interpret a line graph to suggest relationships between variables, and read values from the graph. (KS3 Science Syllabus)

Try the activity

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Vitamin D presentation

Size: 7.75 MB

Vitamin D Teachers guide

Size: 35.42 KB

Running the activity

Engage The activity starts by relating Vitamin D to students lives, following the principles of Science Capital (see link below). It stimulates students to think whether they are at risk of bone disease.
Play Students develop their skills in analysing patterns by playing Data Doctor’s on-screen game.
Review Students estimate their own vitamin D intakes by analysing data on sunlight and diet.
Decide Students decide whether they need a daily vitamin D pill.

For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.


BBC – Vitamin D

Everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter, public health advice for the UK recommends.

Science Capital made clear

An accessible summary of the concept of science capital and how it influences students’ attitudes towards science and scientific careers.

Q&A: Vitamin D

An overview of the new UK guidance on vitamin D supplements in question and answer form, accessible to fluent readers.

Rickets makes a comeback

News article about the return of rickets.

Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin D

Advice on vitamin D from the NHS, accessible to fluent readers.

Recent official vitamin D guidance

Report from the NHS about a recent article questioning government advice on vitamin D supplements.


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  • violeta11 says:


    The materials are engaging and easy to use, though sometimes the teacher’s instructions are a bit unclear. Other than that, the materials can be used as a whole or parts of it according to the needs. Students get engaged especially that the materials present real life events and situations.

  • llange2 says:

    great resource

    great resource for engaging students; nice student sheets too

  • angela.williams says:

    Vitamin D

    Excellent resource which kept students engaged.

  • drjohn says:

    Vitamin D

    A very well thought out resource with some stimulating activities.

  • toakintola says:

    Vitamin D

    Excellent resource to engage and secure students ability read, analyse and evaluate graphs. I am yet to use it but I am eagerly looking for an opportunity to enthuse my year 8 set 7 with this resource

  • tonidolan says:


    I used this will an SEND year 10 group and it really had them interested and created a good discussion.
    They also under took the data handling tasks well as they were already interested in the topic

  • viktoria says:

    vitamin D activity

    I have just tried this activity with the EAL Science group in y10. It worked very well, enjoyed what they learnt about UV index and amount of time they should spend outside.
    However, worksheets could be in a separate document.

    Thank you

  • xortega says:

    Vitamin D

    I think it is a very well worked activity that unites different skills to be used in a real issue. This is not usually done in the classroom, where we tend to concentrate in the topic we are trying to teach.
    As a I said in previous assessments, there is one thing that can be improved. The presentation format makes the display lively and editable but has some problems. I use Libre Office and the majority of fonts are not in my computer, son I must reformat the presentation to display it an it takes a lot of time. A simple solution would be to use a limited set of fonts available in every computer platform.

  • cornishmaid says:

    Vitamin D activity

    I like the way the enquiry skills and data handling are weaved in, thank you. Puppies always a good touch too!

  • egallow says:

    Vitamin D

    I love this resource. I plan to use it with S2 students. However I cannot see how to get the sheets SS1 and SS2. Please help!
    Many thanks
    Elizabeth Galloway

    • Gemma Young says:


      Hi Elizabeth,

      It’s great to hear that you are planning to use the resource. All the students sheets are at the end of the presentation (slide 22 onwards).

      Gemma (from the writing team)